Menopause and Memory–What Movie Was That?

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A guest post from my friend, writer Lisa Kline, who recounts her memory woes:

During my first pregnancy, I could literally feel the blood leaving my brain to nurture my baby. I was spacey and forgetful. I remember thinking, “Geez, not only am I fat and ugly, I’m stupid too.”

Menopause isn’t much different. I can’t remember anything. There was that movie I wanted to see this summer.

“Which movie?” my husband said.

“I can’t remember the name of it.”

“Okay. Who’s in it?”

“That guy…messy blonde hair, broken nose. And that young actress. Very self-possessed. Her hair is always a different color. ”

“Hmm. Who directed it?”

“That guy. Neurotic. I know his name as well as my own. But I can’t remember it now.”

Thank God we’ve been married so long.

“Oh!” says my husband. “Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen, with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams.”

“Whew! That’s it!” I said.

Thank God my husband isn’t going through menopause.

I told my doctor about the memory problems, and I did read on some web sites that taking estrogen could help with mental acuity. I even took estrogen for awhile, mostly for that reason. But eventually the worry about whether I was increasing my cancer risk was not worth it, so I weaned myself off of it. And weaning as opposed to stopping cold turkey with estrogen is vitally important. Talk to your doctor about that.

Meanwhile, I’ve tried another solution to the brain drain: I’ve started making lists. And keeping an extra-detailed day book.

And here’s a secret: my husband, who hasn’t even gone through menopause, does those things too.

Lisa Williams Kline is the author of three novels for young people and a short story collection for adults. Her first novel won the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award.  Read more about her at  Lisawilliamskline.

The photo above is the cover of Lisa’s novel, Write Before Your Eyes.  A review in  School Library Journal states that “Kline tackles issues like fate and free will with equal parts humor and gravity.  This is an engaging read for anyone who has ever felt powerless to change their world.”

The photo below was taken by Lisa’s daughter, Kelsey, for the book jackets for a new series of middle-grade novels.

Snow Lady:  Snow Lady will be sailing through the air to Pam’s house.  She is really a  bit upset with me as she was hoping she would spend time at everyone’s house.  I assured her that Pam will make her life as happy as swirling snowflakes.

14 responses »

  1. If anyone asks me about my menopause experience, I always say the memory loss was the worst part. I didn’t take anything for it and just depended on having understanding friends and family to complete my sentences, remember names, etc. The place it was the most bothersome was at work–I know my young male boss was not at all happy that I couldn’t remember anything–and sometimes still can’t! So post-it notes are my friend. I put them all over everything at work. Drives my boss crazy having them stuck all over the top of my desk. But thankfully my memory improved once I was period free. Now I blame it on OLD AGE! Yikes! But it still isn’t as bad as it was during the throws of menopause.

  2. Boy, can I relate to this post! Thank you, Lisa, for saying it so well. I’ve never been a good “rememberer” and I’ve always resorted to lists, post it notes, and other people to help me remember things. But I didn’t realize how bad things could get until I went through two pregnancies and then menopause! I still, thankfully, remember my own name but if my friends start seeing me with a name tag on, I hope they will be understanding…and not snicker too much.

  3. I relate to this too. Your movie description was so funny – I knew you were talking about Woody Allen but I couldn’t remember his name!

  4. I think this can come in handy at times, “What? I said I was going to do what? Really? Oh well, you know my memory is shot!” That’s how I ‘m planning on using it anyway. I have to say that I feel sharper now than I did when I was younger, but wouldn’t it be hilarious if I only think that and it’s not actually the case!

  5. why did i walk in to this room?? the first time this happened to me i really felt old. am used to it now. and i agree with your line “thank god we have been married so long”. patience is important. mostly patience with ourselves.

  6. And here I thought the memory thing was just age. Now I have a more specific thing to blame it on–menopause. I’ve given up on remembering actors’ names. Take the movie I saw just last night. Super hot guy, funny guy, smart young woman, and red-haired woman. It’s like a quiz show around our house. (Ryan Gosling, Steve Carrell, Emma Stone, and Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love).

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